Monday, July 6, 2020


What I do today, more than anything else, determines who I will be tomorrow.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Brain Exercise?

Some ways of thinking stretch your mind. This can be exhausting, and you might feel like your mind hurts, but it is not harmful.
Some ways of thinking squash or smash your mind. This can also be exhausting, and your mind may feel like it hurts; but this is harmful.

Do not let your thinking smash your mind. It is a terrible thing to waste. 😢

Monday, March 23, 2020

COVID-19: How long?

As everyone settles into this new "routine" of social distancing and semi-quarantine, I think a lot of us are wondering how long this will last. The true answer is complicated by many things, which vary by territory, immunity, politics, etc. But I think we can put some useful boundaries on the timeline.

The numbers below are all based on the United States, but in reality the outer bounds are probably pretty close regardless of where on Earth you live; because we are all in a global community (except for you, North Korea).

Least Time

Say that we ignore COVID-19, live like it does not exist, and let it spread as fast as it can on its own. This means that at some near point in time, everyone will have become exposed/infected, and a while after that everyone (who survives) will become immune. This is the minimum amount of time that COVID-19 will affect us all.

Down to the numbers. To start some calculations, we need several values. These are all averages/estimates.
So given all of that, the reconstruction:
  • on 3/23/2020, there were 504 deaths in the USA
  • given 15 days from infection to death, and 2% death rate, this means there were approximately 25,200 infected persons on 3/8/2020
  • given 6 days to double the number infected, this means that ever person in the USA would be infected by 5/30/2020 (this glosses over a lot of factors, but we're doing quick estimates here)
  • again, given 15 days from infection to death, this means the last fatality could be as soon as 6/14, so middle of June 2020.

Most Time

Now that the whole world is up in arms against this virus, what will it take to wipe it out completely? It would take a massive vaccination. But we do not yet have a vaccine.

Question) What are the scientists saying is a reasonable time to have a COVID-19 vaccine?
Answer) The New Yorker did a story on this; the gist is 12-18 months is the fastest reasonable time it could be done

Now, before just taking this at face value, let's try to probe it for reasonableness. What is the fastest that a vaccine could be made? From the WHO, the fastest vaccine development is about five months.

Given that, if we dump infinite money and resources into this, I don't believe we will see a useful quantity of a COVID-19 vaccine in less than 12 months.

But now we are estimating the farthest likely timeline. So say everything goes wrong, maybe this takes 24 months, putting it out to March 2022.


Prepare yourself, mentally and physically, to be affected by this pandemic for months. Maybe three months, but more likely six months, or twelve months, or even longer.

But do not despair. In two years, this will be behind us all, one way or another.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

1000 Blank White Cards


Ostensibly, the purpose of 1000 Blank White Cards is to get the most points.

The true purpose (IMHO) is to create the best game cards you can, evaluating which cards are "best" by playing the game with them.

What You Need

  • 2+; I recommend no more than 6, at least the first few games; the more people play the longer each game will take.
  • A stack of blank white cards. You should have about 10 per player. Cards can be unlined or lined; regular (3" x 5"), extra large (5" x 8"), or even cut down in size (3" x 2.5").
  • If you have played before, a deck of cards from the last game.
  • Pens/pencils/markers; at least one per player
    • NOTE: If you use markers, or felt-tip pens, they will soak through the cards. So be sure each player has a “backing” card, both to hide the back of their cards, and to catch any bleed-through ink when creating new cards. And you may wish to "back" each card, by gluing another blank card to it; though this will make shuffling very challenging.

Pre-Game Phase - Card Creation

  1. First, you need to set up the deck.
    • If this is your first game, place 10 blank cards in the middle of the table for each player, for creating new cards.
    • If you have played before, place 5 blank cards in the middle of the table for each player, for creating new cards. Also add 5 cards per player from an previous deck of cards.
  2. Everyone will now take a few minutes to turn their blanks into actual cards (explained at the end). Each player can fill in all of their cards, or leave a few blank.
  3. When everyone is finished, collect all their cards and add them to the deck.


One player can do this while the others are still working on creating cards.
  1. Shuffle the deck thoroughly. Ideally, the owner of the deck of cards will do this sometime before coming to the game.
    • Since most cards are flimsy, and easy to permanently bend, the most common ways I grew up shuffling cards (weave, riffle) are not recommended. More gentle alternatives include the Overhand shuffle (, the Hindu shuffle (, or just cut the deck into many stacks of small piles, and pick them back up in random order.
  2. Deal out five cards to each player.
  3. Place the remaining cards face down, creating the draw pile.
  4. Designate a place for the discard pile; usually next to the draw pile.

Playing the Game

Play begins with the player to the dealer's left, and moves clockwise.

For each player's turn:
  1. Draw the top card from the deck
  2. Play a card from your hand
  3. Apply instructions on card (if any)

1. Draw the top card from the deck

If there are no cards left, skip this first step. As long as each player whose turn is active can play a card, the game continues.

2. Play a card from your hand

You can generally play a card on yourself, on another player, or to the center of the table. The card affects the player it is placed in front of, or when placed in the middle of the table it affects all players, including yourself.

If you cannot play any cards from your hand, draw a second card from the deck into your hand, and it is the next player's turn.

Once the active player cannot play any cards, and there is no deck remaining, the game ends. All players discard all remaining unplayed cards in their hands.

3. Apply instructions on card

If the card has a point value or some other sort of lasting effect, leave it in place until it is somehow nullified, discarded, or removed by another card. If the effect is completed, place it in the discard pile.

If you have a blank card in your hand, you may turn the blank into a playable card at any time. You must do this in order to play it -- you cannot play a blank card. It is best to do this during the other players' turns, to not make others wait on you.

Game Over - Winning

Total up the point value of the cards in front of you, and add the point values of any cards played to the center of the table. This is your score (and yes, it can be a negative number). The player with the highest score wins! Huzzah!

Epilogue - Cleaning up

After the game is over, you will have a pile of cards. The next time you play, you will be using a random selection of cards from this pile, so you want the best cards to be kept, and the worst cards to be removed. To facilitate this, the Epilogue phase of the game is a process to choose which cards to keep.

Take all the cards from the game you just finished, as well as any previous cards that didn't get used, and spread them all out on the table, face-up. Each player will pick up their favorite cards, so they can be used again next time.

Optional ways to limit how many cards are kept:
  • Each player can only preserve their favorite 7 cards
  • Take turns picking a favorite card. When a player does not like any remaining cards, they pass. Once half of the players have passed, stop picking cards to keep.
  • All at once, players pick up their favorite cards; when they are done, they put them all face-down in front of themselves. Once half of the players have finished, reserving cards is over for all players.
Reserved cards should be held by the person who brought the supply of cards.

The leftover cards can be thrown away; carefully archived in a huge library of three-ring binders; or baked into a tasty casserole -- your choice!

How To Create a Card

Okay, now for the important bit, the bit you've all been waiting for! .

Here is a sample card, with descriptions of its various parts.
First, a title. This is what the card is called. Yep.

Next, picture or drawing of some sort. Artistic ability is not required; stick men, or even scribbles, all good.

Last, a description of what the card does. This can be a point value, some sort of instruction, or both, or neither. Instructions can be based on anything you like - existing cards, the current month, current or future actions of the players, anything you can describe.

Try to make the intent of the card clear. When ambiguities arise, some discussion is fun, but too much confusion can be boring.


Friday, February 21, 2020

Plain javascript

This guy Pablo Olóndriz made a game in plain javascript, and it's pretty cool!

I recommend anyone who wants to play and learn web development use I've started a few projects, but the only one I'm proud of is
And I guess is ok too, though it's really just a couple open source libraries with a wrapper.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Pokemon Go Super Effective Attacks by Type

The data for this
The above flowchart shows only the "Super Effective" attack types -- adding the "Weak" attacks makes a pretty absurd looking flowchart.

However, if you are choosing a Pokemon type that will be Super Effective for a fight, you also want to know what the effectiveness of the opponent will be against you. Because if type A is Super Effective against type B, then type B effectiveness against type A might be Normal, Weak, or Extremely Weak. This is represented by the color and thickness of the lines.

  • Thin, pure red lines: effectiveness of the reverse attack is normal
  • Thicker, somewhat purple lines: effectiveness of the reverse attack is weak 
  • Thickest, dark maroon lines: effectiveness of the reverse attack is extremely weak
So if your opponent is type Psychic, your best option is to choose a Pokemon with type Dark.

The data for this came from In text form, the full data is

  • Bug does 1.6x damage to: Dark, Grass, Psychic
  • Bug does .625x damage to: Fighting, Fire, Flying, Fairy, Ghost, Poison, Steel
  • Dark does 1.6x damage to: Ghost, Psychic
  • Dark does .625x damage to: Dark, Fighting, Fairy
  • Dragon does 1.6x damage to: Dragon
  • Dragon does .625x damage to: Steel
  • Dragon does .391x damage to: Fairy
  • Electric does 1.6x damage to: Flying, Water
  • Electric does .625x damage to: Dragon, Electric, Grass
  • Electric does .391x damage to: Ground
  • Fairy does 1.6x damage to: Dark, Dragon, Fighting
  • Fairy does .625x damage to: Fire, Poison, Steel
  • Fighting does 1.6x damage to: Dark, Ice, Normal, Rock, Steel
  • Fighting does .625x damage to: Bug, Fairy, Flying, Poison, Psychic
  • Fighting does .391x damage to: Ghost
  • Fire does 1.6x damage to: Bug, Grass, Ice, Steel
  • Fire does .625x damage to: Dragon, Fire, Rock, Water
  • Flying does 1.6x damage to: Bug, Fighting, Grass
  • Flying does .625x damage to: Electric, Rock, Steel
  • Ghost does 1.6x damage to: Ghost, Psychic
  • Ghost does .625x damage to: Dark
  • Ghost does .391x damage to: Normal
  • Grass does 1.6x damage to: Ground, Rock, Water
  • Grass does .625x damage to: Bug, Dragon, Fire, Flying, Grass, Poison, Steel
  • Ground does 1.6x damage to: Electric, Fire, Poison, Rock, Steel
  • Ground does .625x damage to: Bug, Grass
  • Ground does .391x damage to: Flying
  • Ice does 1.6x damage to: Dragon, Flying, Grass, Ground
  • Ice does .625x damage to: Fire, Ice, Steel, Water
  • Normal does .625x damage to: Rock, Steel
  • Normal does .391x damage to: Ghost
  • Poison does 1.6x damage to: Grass, Fairy
  • Poison does .625x damage to: Ghost, Ground, Poison, Rock
  • Poison does .391x damage to: Steel
  • Psychic does 1.6x damage to: Fighting, Poison
  • Psychic does .625x damage to: Psychic, Steel
  • Psychic does .391x damage to: Dark
  • Rock does 1.6x damage to: Bug, Fire, Flying, Ice
  • Rock does .625x damage to: Fighting, Ground, Steel
  • Steel does 1.6x damage to: Fairy, Ice, Rock
  • Steel does .625x damage to: Electric, Fire, Steel, Water
  • Water does 1.6x damage to: Fire, Ground, Rock
  • Water does .625x damage to: Dragon, Grass, Water

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Minecraft Reference

Will try to fill in more details later, but for now these are the most useful reference info-graphics I have seen for mastering Minecraft.

Mob spawning ranges:

Villager trading chart:

Brewing chart:

Stronghold distances:

How to respawn the Ender dragon:

And just for fun, here's the "Link" skin I used for my character: